BLACKBIRD– A CELEBRATION OF DENIM & MACHINE | THIS FRIDAY 7-10PM

Just a friendly reminder that the event is this Friday evening. We will be shutting down RSVP sign-up promptly at NOON, Thursday 4/12. The response has been incredible, thanks to all who are coming, and sign up now if you haven’t already. There will be beer by The Brooklyn Brewery and spirits generously provided by our friends at Art in the Age. A taco truck will mosey on over and park outside Fast Ashley’s for your convenience. We’ll be giving away some goodies as well. Look forward to seeing you there!

I hope to see you all there for what will be an epic night. A night that was born many months ago when Donwan (of PRPS) and I decided to collaborate on a limited edition jean run of 13 pairs of badass jeans for The Selvedge Yard called the Blackbird. What was the inspiration? The iconic ’53 Triumph Blackbird motorcycle, a sexy-as-all-hell Thunderbird offered for the first time ever by Triumph in all black. Also– the 13 Rebels MC, who inspired 1951′s The Wild One starring Marlon Brando who rode his own Triumph bike in the film. The Blackbird jean is handmade in Japan from the best selvedge denim you can get your hands on – 14oz raw chunky goodness that may out-live us all.

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THE ART OF THE CLASSIC AMERICAN HAIRCUT | TOMCATS BARBERSHOP

Our friends over at  R E L I C  put together a nice little short on the guys that run Greenpoint, Brooklyn’s own Tomcats Barbershop. It’s a place where you can roll up on your Harley, and step in for a period-perfect ’40s or ’50s barbershop haircut by a guy who not only talks the talk, but walks the walk.

The film was produced in collaboration with the Harley-Davidson Ridebook and pays tribute to the great American brand that, “…impacted the early identity of American culture in everything from the way people began to dress to how they wore their hair…” Amen.

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PHOTOGRAPHY OF MATTHEW PORTER | PORTRAITS OF FROZEN ENERGY

It’s shocking to me that I missed these incredible “created” images by Brooklyn photographer Matthew Porter when they came out.  These epic Muscle Car shots are the stuff of every machinehead munchkin’s daydreams, and have the ability to still give a grown man that “hell yes, fist-pumpin’ feeling.” They’re pure unbridled fantasy of the best kind.  Interviewer Rosecrans Baldwin described them as, “…a studied spontaneity, a way to make portraits of frozen energy, of time put on pause.” Indeed.

Let’s cut the crap here and boil it down– bitchin’. There’s also a captivating series called “High Lonesome”, which Porter describes as, “sort of an absurd mash-up between the Hindenburg and the American West.” Here’s the interview and images from The Morning News–

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Burnout #2, 2006  –image © Matthew Porter

In many of the pictures, there’s an affection for wide-open spaces and grandeur, even myths: big skies, flying cars, floating blimps, cowboys. Do you find photography well suited for capturing big ideas?

Overall, I would have to say no. I’ve had to use quite a bit of Photoshop and travel to different parts of the country to make those images. It would be easier if I could make the work from scratch, or appropriate the imagery, but because I’m interested in authoring my own source material, I need access to the subject. Sometimes I feel like photography is not the best medium for the work I’m making, but I’m determined.

The flying cars have garnered a lot of attention. Where did they start for you? Are you still interested in them?

I was inspired by ‘70s road and car chase movies to make something with muscle cars, but I couldn’t get away from a documentary style project. Then I happened to see the end of the Starsky & Hutch remake, where the car freezes in mid-air while lens flares splash over the hood, and I realized that’s what I wanted. Then it became a problem of how to do it on a small budget.

I like them because they represent iconic moments that have very little with telling a story. No one ever talks about how Bullitt is a police procedural, but I see stills from the car chase reproduced all the time; the imagery is vivid enough to remain, and they play directly to the imagination. When I get an opportunity to install work somewhere, I like the flying cars to function the same way, so they should never be shown all together. I’ll probably continue to make them, maybe one every year for a while.

Blue Ridge Parkway, 2008 –image © Matthew Porter

Empire on the Platte, 2008 –image © Matthew Porter

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PHOTOGRAPHY OF WILLIAM GEDNEY | AN AMERICAN ARCHIVE, KENTUCKY

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Man driving car and drinking can of beer. Kentucky, 1972. William Gedney Photographs and Writings Duke University Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library. http://library.duke.edu/digitalcollections/gedney/

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Chances are, if you’re reading this you’re like me– isolated from the starkness and poverty represented in William Gedney’s haunting, honest images of Kentucky life taken back in 1964 & 1972.  We get wrapped up in our own comfortable little coccoon and forget that there’s a world out there, even today, without the internet, shopping malls, and Starbucks.  Driving across this great country years ago, and seeing parts of the rural south with my own eyes exposed me to a way of life in the outskirts of America that I was largely ignorant of.  Most of us have a whole lot to be thankful for, like the simple conveniences and access that we overlook everyday.

From the mid 1950s through the early 1980s, William Gedney (1932-1989) photographed throughout the United States (as well as India, and Europe). From street scenes outside his Brooklyn apartment, to the daily chores of unemployed coal miners, and the indolent lifestyle of hippies in Haight-Ashbury– Gedney recorded the lives of others with remarkable clarity and poignancy. These photographs (along with his notebooks and writings), illuminate the vision of an intensely private man who, as a writer and photographer, revealed the lives of others with striking sensitivity.

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Boy covered by dirt smoking cigarette with one hand, holding can of tobacco in other. Kentucky, 1964. William Gedney Photographs and Writings Duke University Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library. http://library.duke.edu/digitalcollections/gedney/

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THE NEW AGE OF ANTIQUARIANS | BROOKLYN’S FINE YOUNG CURATORS

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Collectors like Hollister, left, and Porter Hovey, sisters with an appetite for late 19th-century relics like apothecary cabinets and dressmakers' dummies, are turning their homes into pastiches of the past.

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The New York Times is featuring TSY favorites Hollister & Porter Hovey as part of the “new antiquarians” in Thursday’s Home section.  Also featured is another multi-talented and all-around tasty guy– Sean Crowley, neckwear designer extraordinaire for Rugby Ralph Lauren.  From bones, to bitters, to bric-a-brac, there is something to satisfy everyone’s vintage era itch.  Get a better taste of it online here.

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Taxidermy, clubby insignia and ancestral portraits have been decorative staples at trendy Lower East Side restaurants and clothing stores for a while, but now they are catching on at home. Sean Crowley, a neckwear designer at Ralph Lauren who has a voracious interest in, for example, the restoration of English and French umbrellas from the 1930s and '40s. He also collects arcane cocktail ingredients, including seven kinds of bitters.

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Sean Crowley with his girlfriend Meredith Modzelewski and their incredible Fort Greene, Brooklyn apartment, which is chockablock with Edwardian-style portraits, heraldic devices and mounted antlers.

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